30 May 2010

And the difference is . . .

A brief entry because I've finally found a reason for some people being marked "boarder" in the census, whilst others are marked "lodger".

I found this at britishgenealogy.com: a boarder gets his food (his board) as well, whereas a lodger just pays for the room.

Makes sense, I guess.

More soon.

29 May 2010

More coincidences

Today's offering introduces two ladies, christened on the same day in adjoining counties, each of them my 1st cousin 4 times removed. How spooky is that?

So, meet Sarah Pates, oldest of the eight children of Henry & Elizabeth, christened on 30 May 1819 at St Andrew's, Biggleswade. Sadly she had only a very short life and was buried in the same church almost a year later.

Let's move now to Landbeach for the christening, on the same day remember, of Hannah Lowton; not only my 1st cousin however many times removed but also my great great grandmother - I'm not entirely sure how this can happen but, hey, when has technology ever been wrong?

Hannah was the second of the five children of William & Mary (née Norris) and spent her whole life in Landbeach, marrying James Webb on 7 December 1841. Ten children later and I can contradict part of my last sentence! The 1881 census shows the family at Poor Fen Farm in Burwell but after a few years James took his clan back to their more natural hunting grounds in Landbeach and Hannah died there in 1886 at the age of 67.

I wonder what some of our ancestors would have made of that which is in front of me on the tv at the moment? That's the Eurovision Song Contest . . . . I'm not sure I have the will to watch all of it but I'll try a couple of songs.

More soon.

23 May 2010

Memorable names?

Just a very brief entry today after I saw the following entry in a marriage register:-

1858: BULL, David to GATES Sarah

Well, it made me smile. And then I started flicking through to see if I could find any other "unusual" names or amusing combinations. I grant you that this is a rather mindless occupation but, in my defence, it is a stonkingly hot day and my brain is slowly turning to mush.

And I found Miss FETNEYCOCK and Miss RABBIT, young Miss CALVERLY whose surname was amended in the BT (Bishop's Transcript) to CALVARY and, multiple times, the family CRUST or CURZENS who should "properly be COUSINS in all places where it occurs". How can you hear "Crust" when someone says "Cousins"?? Must have been one deaf vicar!!

More soon.

16 May 2010

What's in an I?

Yesterday we ended up in Caistor, in Lincolnshire; today we lose the I and go south a bit to Castor, near Peterborough, to mark the christening of Wright Culpin.

My fourth cousin four times removed, Wright was the son of Richard & Elizabeth (nee Wright), and was christened today in 1830 in the village of Castor - between Peterborough and the A1 (altho' the A1 probably wasn't there then!). A farm servant in 1851, Wright married Ann Wadkin in 1853 and they went on to have seven children over the next twenty years. As far as I can tell, Wright & Ann stayed in the village whilst their children ventured slightly further.

Oldest son Alfred, born 1855, even ventured as far as Yaxley . . . before the Constabulary caught him "stealing a cigar and some pence in all of the value of 6d". And then, in typical 19th century understatement, sentenced him to 14 days hard labour, followed by a compulsory return to Castor. A sort of "don't darken our doors again", I guess.

Courtesy of the "Victorian Crime & Punishment" website and Cambs Archives, I also have a photo of this hardened criminal:

According to the description with it, he was only a short'un - 4ft 10ins at the age of 18. Shouldn't think he was too difficult to catch! I'm pleased to report that he seems to have mended his ways, and married Elizabeth Graves in 1881, going on to have two daughters.

Second son George married Emma Middleton and then became a railwayman; Selina married her second cousin Harry Culpin.

And that's really all there is to tell. The other daughters haven't distinguished themselves yet - more research required. Wright died in 1907 and Ann in 1915, at the grand age of 85.

More soon.

15 May 2010

All at sea again

Quite a coincidence - I'm sat here listening to the Navy Lark on the radio and today's anniversary boy was a sailor, albeit of the Merchant variety. Spooky!

So, meet Arthur Freeman, my second cousin five times removed, who was christened today in 1853 in the village of Tuddenham St Mary, Suffolk, the eleventh of thirteen children of William & Eliza (nee Sparrow).

Young Arthur has been a little elusive but I've done a bit more searching; in 1861, his parents appear to be running the Half Moon pub in Mildenhall and he's an eight year old schoolboy. Move on twenty years and he's the Master (ie the Captain) of the Vessel "Rechale", off Caistor, in Lincolnshire and he's a married man. All useful stuff, except it doesn't, of course, give us any useful information about his wife . . . .

So, a bit of searching backwards, which is a skill that all genealogists acquire: there was a marriage in 1878 in the Caistor district between Arthur Freeman and either Emma Robinson or Ada Smith.

Then there's an Ada Freeman, age 25, fisherman's wife, living on her own in Grimsby in the 1881 census. Possible . . . .

But Arthur went and died in 1890 before the next census, drat him, so where to go from here? On the assumption that Ada is our girl, the search was for Ada Freeman in the 1891 census. Zilch.

Did she get married again? That quickly? Possibly . . . .

A marriage, in the March quarter of 1891 in the Caistor district again between Ada Freeman and Arthur Illingworth or Richard Chapman. No sign of an Ada Illingworth in the 1891 census but there is an Ada Chapman, married to Richard. Definite possible, that one.

Not just Ada and Richard but also two sons, Fred (7) & Charles (4). Now, Ada and Richard have only just got married so one of them's been married before. Fortunately, the 1901 census finally confirms the guesswork: Richard & Ada, still married, and Fred is living with them - this time, handily given the surname of Freeman!

Now to prove it: there's a Fred William Freeman & a Charles Freeman, both born at the right times, and in the right district. Result!

Left hand down a bit!

More soon.

10 May 2010

Buy one, Get one free?

Yippeee - it's finally happened. For years I've joked about my ancestors getting married with a whiff of cordite in the air and maybe the minister making the booking for the christening. And now, I've found one . . . . .

Today we celebrate the christening of Levi Langford, my first cousin six times removed, in 1815 in Stretham. So far, so very ordinary. And then it happens:

14 August 1815 is definitely a date for the diary; it's the day that Levi married Sarah Wheeler AND, oh joy, the same day their oldest son William was christened!! I assume, from the way both register entries are written, that the marriage took place first and then the wedding party adjourned to the other end of the church for the second ceremony.

Levi and Sarah went on to have a further nine children before Sarah's death in 1848; Levi married again, to Jane Clarke, and he died in 1879 - presumably in Stretham, but there's no evidence of his burial there, unless he'd turned Noncom by then.

I then decided to do a bit of a count from the birth of William to the youngest great-great-grandchild (Tom Money, born in 1926), Levi & Sarah's dynasty contained:

Ten children
Thirty six grandchildren
Thirty two great-grandchildren
Thirty one great-great-grandchildren

I make that 109 people - phew! They scattered to Soham, Haddenham & Cambridge and further afield to Yorkshire, London, Lancashire and Suffolk.

And that's the end of the stats, I need to find out where "Wincobank" is.

More soon.

9 May 2010

Saddles and Shoes

When I looked at the list of today's anniversaries I saw an opportunity for a bit more research; Rhoda Smith, my first cousin four times removed, was born in Chatteris in 1825, the daughter of Nicholas and Susannah, and all I had for her was the 1841 census entry, when she was a labourer, and a marriage entry with a choice of husbands.

So, cup of tea to hand, I set to . . . and first of all discovered that she married Stephen Saddler on 18 July 1841 in Chatteris and . . . and . . . and . . . . disappeared! That's probably why she didn't get a mention last year but I was most disappointed. Now I'm wondering how one normally spells Saddler? No problem guessing the derivation of the surname but one "d" or two??

I'll put her on the "To Do" list and move on . . . . Clara Rolls.

Now, Clara has nothing to do with my family, she is part of my research for the Papworth Heritage Centre (http://www.papworthhospital.nhs.uk/content.php?/about/papworth_heritage_centre), and was the daughter of Alfred Rolls who was born in Papworth Everard in 1840.

I was idly following the family after they left the village and ended up in Liverpool; Clara was born in Birmingham, the oldest of Alfred & Mary Ann's children, and I found her in the 1881 census (in Liverpool), aged 20 and with her occupation as "Gutta Percha (unemployed shoe maker)".

Now first of all, I thought this was the enumerator having some scouse fun with us - a play on her being unemployed; then I turned to Mr Google and it turns out to be some sort of latex used, amongst others things, in the manufacture of shoes. Mind you, it also seems to have been used in some very unpleasant dental work too - yuk!

So, today's entry has increased our knowledge! I wonder if I can get Gutta Percha into a conversation this week . . . . . ?

More soon.

1 May 2010

Across the sea . . .

I'm always looking for new reasons to write about someone and here's a first:- today is the 113th anniversary of Isaac Greenall's first step towards naturalisation as an American citizen. Yes, I know it's a bit of a tenuous link but . . . hey!

Isaac was my first cousin three times removed (and also my third cousin twice removed) and was born in 22 December 1878 in Landbeach, Cambs, the son of Walter & Henrietta (nee Webb). By 1891 he was a blacksmith's apprentice, still in Landbeach, but plainly the wider world called to him and he & his brother Henry departed for the US of A on 24th April 1897, arriving at Ellis Island one week later.

According to the Ellis Island website, they arrived on the "Lucania" and planned to go on to Upper Falls, NY (no, I don't know where it is either). It seems, though, that Massachusetts was to be Isaac's destination and he received his naturalisation certificate whilst living at 56 Lawn Street, Boston, on 7 December 1908.

During the Great War, US Draft Registration Cards found him living in Roxbury, Suffolk, Mass and we finally get to see what he looked like, courtesy of the US Passport Applications online.

In 1921 and again in 1924 he applied for a passport to travel to the UK and, here's his application:

How good is that! And, having seen other members of his family, I think I'd recognise him as a Webb. I've managed to crop the photo itself and it's probably easier to see on my website.

The other anniversary is the christening today, at St James' Church, Stretham, Cambs, of perhaps my most distant relative so far . . . . Laura Langford, like Isaac above, was related to me twice; firstly she was my fourth cousin once removed - the common ancestor we share was born in 1737 - and, are you sitting down? She was my ninth cousin twice removed. Now that's quite impressive; the common ancestor there was born in 1556. 450 years ago! I think you can say we're not close!

More soon.